Every sporting event has a type of kickoff. “Ready, set go,” or “Gentlemen, start your engines,” or baseball’s “First Pitch.” So often there are many moving parts, but once the opening acclamation is said, “They’re Off,” then everything begins.
The same applies for any great Christ-centered worship service. There needs to be a moment, a proclamation, a declaration that transitions the worshipper from “Where did I put my car keys” or “We can’t be late” or “I need more coffee” or “God, you seem far away” to “God, I am here for you.”
This week, we continue moving forward with another great addition to our Sunday service liturgy. This week, we are adding the very historical and very pointed “Opening Acclamation” and the “Collect for Purity.” This Opening Acclamation opens our Sunday morning worship services with a declaration of why we gather. We do not gather for ourselves, our needs, our wants, for the perfect song, best sermon or even for the good coffee; no, we gather to bless God. Our Opening Acclamation, lead by the Bishop or officiating priest says, “Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Then the congregation responds, “And blessed be His kingdom now and forever.” This Opening Acclamation drives a stake in the ground declaring and reminding us that we are here on Sunday mornings for God’s glory above all things.
Secondly, this Sunday we are adding the great “Collect for Purity.” This collect or prayer has been prayed by God’s people in worship for nearly 1000 years. This prayer is another marker, declaration and profession of who God is and who we are. We value participation in our worship as Anglicans, so we will pray this prayer together.
Personally, this is one of my most deeply loved prayers. I need to be reminded each Sunday that God knows all things and that I need His help and grace in order to love and serve Him. The Collect for Purity reads, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Exciting times ahead for Church of the Holy Spirit as we enter into a richer and more Christ-centered Sunday service liturgy. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 100, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth . . . Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his course with praise!”